Since You Asked: Does Yuba City have a code enforcement officer?
Q: Does Yuba City have a code enforcement officer anymore? I complained a few weeks ago, and the city said they only do code enforcement on Wednesdays, but Wednesday came and still nothing was done.
A: Yuba City abated the code enforcement officer three years ago.
With more than 300 cases cluttering City Hall today, code enforcement complaints are piling up like dead weeds.
The layoff of the code enforcement position was one of more than a dozen in 2010 that helped close a $3 million budget gap.
Planning, building and housing officials picked up the extra duties, which are now performed just once a week, said Tammie Rikard, Yuba City's community development technician.
"Unfortunately, there's no plan to fill the position and nobody left with the time to dedicate to handling code enforcement full time," Rikard said.
Yuba City issues many notices for violations, but has never collected any fines for ignoring them — not one.
City Manager Steve Jepsen said property owners have cleaned up issues before the court stepped in and the fines have been nullified.
"We like to give people every opportunity to comply before going to court," Jepsen said.
City workers wear many hats, juggling disparate responsibilities in various departments. It's a messy reality of government cutbacks.
"I know some people are not satisfied," Rikard said. "I wish we could do more, but we do what we can."
The process also takes time. First-time notices provide owners 30 days to comply. A second notice allows an additional two weeks and a third comes with five more days.
Then the city can rattle a financial saber. Authorities can bill the owner $100 on the first day, $200 on the second and $500 each day afterwards until the problem is fixed.
"Yes, it's in the code that we could fine them ($500) every day after that," Rikard said. "We've just not taken that last step."
In the most extreme cases of trash, the city will clean up the mess and put a lien on the property to collect the cost of the cleanup from the owner.
Health and safety issues take priority over nuisance complaints.
"There are some (complaints)," Rikard admitted, "that we just don't get to."